Jose Fonte has been left out of the Southampton squad for Wednesday night’s EFL Cup semi-final against Liverpool after a breakdown in his relationship with manager Claude Puel and club officials, according to an apparently well-sourced report.
Yahoo Sport are reporting that Fonte has been agitating for a move away from Southampton for several months, with his recently appointed agent Jorge Mendes working on a possible exit play for the defender that was a member of Portugal’s Euro 2016 squad last summer.
The Yahoo report confirms that no offer was received for Fonte from Manchester United last summer, despite widespread reports to the contrary, with Mendes’s close links with his United and their manager Jose Mourinho fuelling that story that was never likely to come to fruition.
Fonte has been offered two fresh contracts by Southampton since he returned from his successful international trip last summer, but he has declined to accept either and has been accused of displaying a ‘consistently bad attitude’ ahead of his omission from the squad for the Liverpool game.
Fonte handed in a transfer request last week, with his manager Puel offering these comments on the current position of his skipper.
“Jose won’t participate for this game,” Puel told a news conference on Monday. “We will see for the next game. It is important to keep stability. We do not know the future of Jose, it is a difficult situation in the market. I respect Jose, it is not an easy situation for the staff or players. It is difficult.
“I do not comment on the possibility (of Fonte leaving). I think it is important to respect the other players. It is an opportunity also for Jose to view different opportunities and it is important to respect this.
“For me, it is important to keep stability in defence first, and second, we will see what the situation of Jose in this market is. If Jose came to leave the club, it is normal for us to look at other opportunities (to replace him).
“It is important for us to remain open in the market and look at other opportunities. We do not know about other opportunities yet, it is difficult for the club to improve the squad this month.”